The Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has given insight into Amotekun, the Southwest security outfit declared illegal by the Buhari government.

Fayemi, in an interview with Daily Trust, stated that Amotekun was not in conflict with the role of the police.

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He also dismissed fear that governors may use the outfit to fight perceived political opponents.

Fayemi said: “If people have obsession with governors, they should declare their interest. Does the Federal Government not misuse the police? I know what happened to me in 2014 during the election. I was a sitting governor. I had immunity, but I was assaulted.

“Go into the history books and check it; that was federal police. Any police can be mishandled. What we should be talking about is how to make sure that security institutions are more accountable within the framework of democratic control. That should not be about whether the president or governor can misuse power.

“Governors, whether we like it or not, have a duty and responsibility, which are clearly spelt out in the constitution. The security and welfare of citizens are the number one duty of any governor. You may define that in whichever way you want, but that is the number one job we have.

“The people within my jurisdiction are saying ‘we don’t know what you are doing, you are funding the police, you are buying vehicles, you are buying security gadgets, you are even paying allowances, yet we don’t get enough security.’ There is nothing unique in what we have done.

“I am glad with my colleagues in the North-Central. I was reading in the paper where Governor Simon Lalong was saying, “We haven’t seen the details of what they did in the South-West, but I think this is something we are working on, a similar arrangement in our own area. Amotekun is nothing but a confidence building measure to include our people in community policing arrangement.

“Penultimate Friday, Governor Zulum was handing over vehicles to military, police, and the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF). Please, what is Civilian JTF? I am sure you know what Civilian JTF means. Why is Civilian JTF very relevant in the North-East? They know the terrain. They know the culture. They know the people. They have better intelligence than even the security agencies.

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“This is because those who are responsible for this problem live among them. Members of Boko Haram are not from outer space, they are from Nigeria. And they live among people. Why are we denying? What we are doing is not an exception at all. So, the notion that if you allow governors to do this they would abuse it by using it to intimidate opponents is not tenable.

“One of the reasons this Amotekun is regional is that we don’t want anyone to reduce it to a machinery of oppression against their people. But some governors were not there. Was that an indication that they were not fully behind it? Every governor was involved. We started the process in June last year after we had a spate of kidnappings and banditry in the South-West.

“Even if the police put in their best efforts, we will still have challenges. And that is what recommends this community policing strategy. And we were very clear in Ibadan. In my state, this strategy was put together by the Security Council, comprising Brigade Commander, the Commissioner of Police, the Director of the Department of State Service (DSS), and the Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

“So, if you come to Ekiti, there is nothing we are doing on Amotekun that is not known to our security apparatus. There’s a misconception that has been promoted because of the proliferation of distorted views on social media. If a narrative is distorted and people choose to believe what they want to believe, of course you will end with a different understanding of what we are trying to do.

“Somebody said they saw a photograph of people carrying guns in uniform. Where? The operational guideline is clear. Uniformed guns for what? These people are working under the framework of the conventional security services. The primary role they have is to gather intelligence and provide it. If they have the capacity to arrest, every citizen has that right. You and I can arrest.

“You don’t even need to be Amotekun to arrest and hand over to the conventional agency responsible for internal security. I don’t know why we pretend. We all know that our policing arrangement in the country is less than adequate.

“Even the Inspector General of Police (IGP) should admit this. He is a fine gentleman and brilliant officer. He was with me in Ekiti during my first term. So, I know Mohammed Adamu very well. In terms of competence, you can’t fault him. And he is a promoter of community policing. Go and talk to him, he will tell you that this is the way to go.”

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